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Dress Code for High School

Original post made by Paly Parent on May 30, 2007

We have dress codes for our middle schoolers, why not high schoolers?

As the warmer weather arrives, I am shocked by what many high schoolers think are appropriate wear for school. From beach wear to pajamas (for finals!), it appears that anything goes. Underwear showing above and below the scantiest clothing for boys and girls seems to be OK and as a parent I feel that I can't be the only one who thinks this just isn't on. If the teachers or admin. staff came to school dressed like this, it would be deemed unprofessional, so why is it deemed OK for the students. Apart from anything else, how can we teach them what is appropriate wear for interviews for jobs, colleges, etc. if the schools allow them to wear what they want.

Since the majority of our high schoolers have been to middle school in Palo Alto and are used to dress codes, why not take the same rules into high schools and teach the kids a life lesson.

Comments (67)

Posted by MiddleSchoolParent, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 30, 2007 at 11:48 am

There is a dress code for the middle school?? Who is supposed to enforce it - and has anyone seen it being enforced?


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2007 at 12:28 pm

I have seen Paly students at Town and Country at lunch time. I feel so sorry for them. Blue jeans ripped at the knees and faded, clothes way too big that fall down over their bottoms, outrageous outfits that look like recycling rejects. Do these students need financial help to buy hole-free clothing? Get a hair cut? But tie-dyed hair? In some of these outfits the girls should not stand on a street corner, or they may be tagged as 'solicitors'. I have visited the prestigious boys' DeLaSalle High Schooi in Orinda and the co-ed St. Francis in Mountain View.. What a change in atmosphere. Scholarly, respectful, disciplined. A learning environment- and its sports teams do 'rather well' too. And the kids seem very happy. I'm all for dress codes - and uniforms are becoming popular again in many parts of the country, espciially in gang areas. Would it be a good thing to have a 'closed campus' and have study halls. The 'permissive era' is backfiring.


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 12:36 pm

In my experience (and my daughter's), the dress code is the same at both middle and high schools, but is known to be more strictly enforced at the middle schools (JLS at least). As I recall, the biggest issue seemed to be "no spaghetti strap tops, unless worn under another shirt," but I don't see that written out in the dress code. Here it is:

"Appearance and Dress: The Palo Alto secondary schools have established a dress code in keeping with the purpose of the schools and one which is acceptable to the community.
Appearance and dress must be within the limits of decency, cleanliness and appropriateness for school, and shall not interfere with teaching and learning. Some form of footwear must be worn on the campus.
Any profanity, sexually implicit or explicit wording and/or graphics as well as drug and/or alcohol insignia apparel must not be worn at school.
The following specific dress guidelines are intended as reference points and are not meant to imply that compliance requires measuring student apparel dimensions.
Article 1: Upper Body
No back-less shirts shall be worn.
Chest must be covered such that the neckline of shirts must not be lower than one (1) inch below the top of the armpit
Article 2: Midriff
No belly button shall be exposed when a student is standing with his/her arms hanging at his/her sides.
Article 3: Lower Body
The buttocks shall be covered such that no part is visible when sitting, standing, or leaning over.
Skirts must reach the middle of the thigh.
Shorts must reach the middle of the thigh.
Underwear must not be showing when sitting, standing, or leaning over."


Posted by enough already, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Although I do agree that some kids cross the line of what's acceptable, I can't see holding them to the same standards as their teachers. They're kids, afterall. Going to school is not a job. Compare the teachers to other professionals, not students. A bit of self-expression is part of growing up.

What I find more dismaying is the sleazy selection of girls clothes offered in stores, starting with toddlers. If preschoolers dress suggestively, then how do teenage girls differentiate themselves from little girls and grown women? The options are reduced.

Regarding the middle school dress code, I got the impression that it's a fairly reasonable one. If I remember correctly, it prohibited skirt hems above the fingertips, spaghetti strap tops, and exposed undergarments. Good luck trying to enforce it at the high school level, though.


Posted by Former Jordan Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 12:45 pm

My daughter's friends at Jordan were often sent to the office for their shorts being too short and had to either change into PE clothes or parents had to bring a change of clothes. This happened for both class and dances.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Joe Simitian was one of the leading proponents in allowing the boys at Paly to have hair longer than their collars!!


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 30, 2007 at 1:14 pm

I am sure some Paly students may overdo it, but most dress in what they consider comfortable clothes. I do not think that any of the Play students are rampaging through the streets of PA committing crimes etc. I also do not think that the Paly students are unhappy at all. While students at De La Salle High School St. Francis in Mountain View may dress nicer, I am not sure that the atmosphere is necessarily better. Just because a student does not dress to your liking does not mean that they are not scholarly, respectful and disciplined. I think that you are stereotyping based on appearance. Finally I am sure that Paly students get into prestiges universities and go on to very nice careers, just like their better dressed peers at fancy high schools with dress codes.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Kate, what I read between the lines in post is that kids should really look like Young Republicans;clean cut, short hair, look uniformly conservative, like kids used to be portrayed on those 1950's TV shows. God forbid they should express their individuality, sexuality, creativity, defiance of authority and free spirit. kids like that usually end up questioning the establishment in general and government in partticular, especially regarding wars and the accelerating rate at which our country is becoming a corporate state, run by corporations solely for corporations and for war profiteers. Where wil we end up if young people actually end up thinking for themselves, deciding what kind of cloths to wear and question their government? The government might throw a war and no one will come. We can't have that, can we?


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Sheesh Albert, even my kids recognize that their peers "express their creativity" by dressing exactly like each other. Teenagers have much narrower definitions of clothing conformity than their parents, it's just the styles that are different. Actually teenage girls' styles today look almost exactly like what girls wore when I went to school.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2007 at 2:55 pm

And in a nude beach everybody's dress code is the same too. Does that make nudist conformists too? The point is that conservatives want to dictate to the kids a dress code based on their conservative social and religious values, in which the expression of sexuality and defiance of authority is totally unacceptable. And the main reason so many kids dress alike is because the media, which we allowed to be owned and controlled by greedy and sleazy corporations, has been pushing particularfashions and images on kids in an incredibly aggressive manner. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Albert: Come on. Nowadays the kids who dress like Kate suggests ARE the non-comformist individualist rebels. Think about it. This is the turn of the new century, where such dress behavior is radical. The norm now is what was consdered rebellious "hippie" of my youth.


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Yes, nudists who go to a nude beach to undress are conforming to society's mores, what's wrong with that?


Posted by another anonymous parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 3:56 pm

I'm with Paly parent and Kate. Insofar as high school girls' clothing goes, it is outrageous and often very provocative - at least what you see at the Churchill parking lot


Posted by RWE, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm

What I find interesting about this discussion is that it - and most others like it - never go to the heart of teen "style".

There is a reason why young people - as young as five - want to dress like their peers, especially in today's heavily marketed-to, youth-oriented culture.

Kids and adults are wired to conform to a degree; translated into contemporay parlance, that means "being cool".

Most child consumers are unaware of this phenomenon, and ironically end up dressing just like their peers, while at the same time being told by the Great Marketing machine in the Sky that dressing like they do will make them "different".

The bottom line: most everyone is a conformist, and that includes all but about 5% of the school population, whi themselves are examined by special marketers who look for "emerging trends" in fashion by watching the real non-conformists - including behavior and dress. Then, slowly, and by design, this "edgey" stuff is marketed via movies, MTV, etc. etc., and we all - even adults - follow like sheep.

Last, is it any surprise that kids dress suggestively? I was speaking with an elementary school principal recently, in another city. He said that 4th and 5th graders are now presenting with dress and behavior codes that only used to be seen in 7th and 8th grade 5-7 years ago.

I don't place a value judgment on kids dress behavior; I'm not inside their heads, but if parents took the time to deconstruct the obvious, we might see less conformist behavior that centers around donning overtly sexual dress.

The second bottom line is that we don't spend enough time with our kids, but that's another post.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Albert:

Wow, I just read your second post...you are reading WAY too much into this thread and Kate's post! Suddenly it is a conservative social and religious issue? Did you realize that there are actually liberal atheists in this nation who understand that dress codes in schools promote a learning environment? Kind of tough for a 16 year old male to focus on his studies in class when the girl next to him leans over her desk and reveals attributes that normally aren't revealed in public. And, frankly, who wants to see a crack when it isn't dawn?

By your standards, there should be no dress code and students should be free to go to school nude if they choose, and have sex on the lawn at lunch to express themselves. Maybe there should be no rules at all of civilized behavior.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2007 at 4:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Daniel, a resident of Community Center
on May 30, 2007 at 4:23 pm

The majority of opinions I read in this thread and others make me sadly realize that a conservative right wing element has infiltrated into Palo Alto in the last 20 years or so, possibly as one of the manifestations of the dot.com boom. I now read opinions and comments I would expect to read in Texas, Arkansas or Idaho publications. We seem to have lost Palo Alto's special character as a bastion of progressive, rational and decent thinking and replaced some of it with Bushist conservatism, the worst thing that happned to our nation.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 4:36 pm

This was never meant to be a political thread, or even a moral thread. Many of the comments here show that there are some one topic only contingent who are not able to debate anything except their own agenda. To those people, I ask them politely to keep to their own threads and don't hijack those that have no connection. We will leave you yours without bringing in parental issues and you can leave ours alone.


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 4:39 pm

I would agree than when you see yourself as a "bastion" of a certain type of thought being "infiltrated" by wrong thinkers, you have lost something important.

I used to think that this type of forum was a great opportunity for people to share ideas and communicate with people they might not otherwise, but it rarely seems to work out well in practice.


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Sorry, but indignation at the way tee agers dress and a desire to force them to conform to puritanical fashions you are comfortable with seem to be much more than a thread about kids fashion. This ties directly with labeling those who oppose the Iraq war as terrorist supporters and traitors. It's the pious wish for others to conform to your notion of modesty, dress and behavior and the putting down of those who don't dress and behave in the manner you expect them to. This thread is not about low necklines, short skirts and long hair, but about forcing kids to conform to your values [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Andrea, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2007 at 5:09 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Palo Alto kids have actually done extremely well in the adult world. They are generally extremely bright and practical and I never heard of even one graduate of our public schools who showed up to a job interview wearing a micro-mini skirt and no bra. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm

OK, I'm not Kate and I don't know Kate, but why such outrage against her comment? She says she's in favor of dress codes - but how is her saying that "forcing" dress codes or values upon anyone? She should be allowed to express her feelings on the matter. Older people have always complained about the younger generation's clothing extremes, with very little material effect.


Posted by Andrea, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2007 at 5:31 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
This is a matter of personal freedom, some of which we are losing in the scary period we live in. The way we and our kids dress are a form of free expression and no one should attempt to pontificate about it. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2007 at 5:41 pm

The way the older generations have fouled up and corrupted just about everything, i find it ludicrous that they are trying to impose a dress code on kids, as if they were smarter and know better. If anything, our kids are much smarter than us and will have to work very hard to undo the mess we have created and left for them. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Andrea, interesting point about the atmosphere of indignation. I still believe though, that trying to create an atmosphere in a written forum is not imposing on anyone. We are free to skip over posts we don't want to read, and will still have our open society as long as everyone is still allowed to post their "other" opinions.


Posted by GAB, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 30, 2007 at 5:56 pm

How about this metric: if your high school daughter's attire is sexually stimulating to an old fart male with testosterone levels significantly lower than the average high school male, I'm voting that the attire is inappropriate for school wear. I don't believe that this is forcing anyone's values on anyone else, it is providing a safe environment with the best chance for actual scholarship to occur. Bring on the dress codes and uniforms. Maybe if kids didn't focus so much on attire to conform, and maybe for one-upmanship in this wealthy town, they might (big might) focus on looking at some of the thread-hijackers' political issues. Anyone who argues that kids wearing sleazy, expensive, ubiquitous, corporate-brand emblazoned Abercrombie & Fitch cloth(e)s are "expressing themselves" is, in my opinion, way off base.


Posted by KCM, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 30, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Dvae, it's a Public Forum, that's why she is invited, as are we all.


Posted by Andrea, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2007 at 6:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gerald, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 30, 2007 at 6:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 6:23 pm

I still think you're imputing too much power to one comment made in response to someone else's original post. Do you agree she has a right to her opinion? I mean, we are only talking about clothes right now. If the right to the opinion exists, why be upset that she is posting it here, on a forum where every reader is here by choice? It's not as if she's pasting flyers around town or standing on the corner with a megaphone. I agree with what you said earlier: our kids are sophisticated at even the middle school level to understand where a person with this opinion is coming from, and not be overwhelmed by it.


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2007 at 6:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 6:26 pm

This opening of a can of worms is completely un-intentional on my part. As a teenager, I constantly got in trouble from my parents and others about the length of my skirt and the fact that my hair was all over my face. I remember how I felt, I wasn't making a statement, just wanted to dress the same as my friends. And, I was in a school with a strong uniform enforcemnt.

If in Palo Alto we can have dress codes for middle schoolers, why not high schoolers. I don't feel that I am asking them to conform to anything other than keeping things sensible. I am not saying that they cannot follow the latest trends, wear t shirts emblazoned with advertising or have holes in their clothes, should they so desire. I am just asking that perhaps some of the more lacksadaisacal garments be left for out of school time. I do not think pajamas appropriate school wear. Neither would be showing off underwear or wearing something that leaves very little to the imagination. I am talking about both girls and boys taking a responsible view of their clothes, not dictating a strong uniform.

I am pleased that people have an opinion on this, however we can differ and that is how it should be. But, taking someone's opinion and making a bigger issue out of it than was originally intended is taking a bigger liberty.

Many people don't like the anonymity of this Forum. However, when opinions are thrown back in such a manner, I can see that many of us would never want to post our real names. My reason for anonymity is more to do with the fact that I wouldn't my kids embarrassed by something I have done. Now, I am not so sure.


Posted by KCM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 30, 2007 at 6:37 pm

and we're back to the beginning. Paly Parent, the dress code written out by PAUSD applies to all secondary schools, middle schools and high schools together. They do mention keeping underwear hidden, but at the high school level, the interpretation seems to be left to the students' discretion.


Posted by Andrea, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2007 at 6:42 pm

"I don't feel that I am asking them to conform to anything other than keeping things sensible." But that is the crux of the matter, isn't it? who are you to decide what is sensible for others and why should you be offended by the cloths others are wearing?


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2007 at 6:46 pm

I still fail to understand why the way one person is dressed, regardless of age, should be any business of another?


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 7:07 pm

Dave, wake up to the real world.

The phrase "dress for success" didn't come about by accident. Anyone who wants to get on in the business field (or even the political field) knows that how they come across is very important on how well they will do. Of course, how you dress in high school isn't going to make much difference to a potential future career, but the habit of dressing appropriately will make a difference nonetheless. A teacher trying to help a student with poor grades do better in their subject will find it much easier helping a student who is mannerly and dressed in a respectable manner. A student who is not doing so well and needs help will probably still get it, but the teacher will even subconsciously be affected by the attire if it is offensive or inappropriate. I would just like to teach my children that what they wear does affect who they are and how they will be judged.

As a child, I remember being forced to sit beside someone who smelt as though they hadn't bathed for a month or changed their clothes in that time (and probably hadn't). I was definitely affected by that and it was my business. At that stage I hated going to school and everything about it. As soon as the situation changed and I was able to sit beside someone else, my whole attitude about school changed. I had no sympathy while I was sitting beside my smelly neighbor, I was told someone had to sit there and it might as well be me. However, looking back on that incident reminds me that we are all in this world together and being a little considerate to others' is always a wise move, particularly when it is all in this classroom together.


Posted by PA mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Isn't the point really that either the schols should not bother to have a dress code or they should enforce the rules? This is just another area in which some Palo Alto schools make no accountability for breaking rules, or apply the rules selectively. It starts with the elementary schools and goes right on up. Why not ask the parents and kids all to vote on it if people feel so strongly that the children's constitutional right to express themselves fully and freely is being inhibited?


Posted by Teacher, a resident of another community
on May 30, 2007 at 7:18 pm

Sorry if this sounds sexist, but the main reason for a dress code is that when girls reveal too much, boys can't concentrate and teachers can't do their jobs the right way. When girls reveal too much, teachers can't walk around a classroom and look down at a student's work without appearing to look down her top too. I've also seen girls wearing skirts too short and then forgettingg about different angles when they change position. Then when they do realize it, it's too late, and then no one's thinking about the lesson any more but rather about the poor girl who just flashed her undies. Frankly, I don't like the way many boys dress either, but it doesn't cause the same problems. Enforcement is also a problem partly b/c male teachers have to have looked at the student's body to notice the problem and what male teacher wants to be the one with the rep for noticing cleavage and midriffs even if it's to enforce dress codes. And the more rules you make the more you have to enforce which eats up time from better purposes. When I used to teach in a school that banned cell phones and we wasted so much time with that - now it's totally normal and I hate to think of the hours spent on that b.s. Maybe the way to go isn't to have more rules but to get families to enforce more on their own. Imagine creepy boys and middle aged men checking out your daughters - if they show it, it will be seen. By everyone, not just the people they *want* to notice them.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 7:38 pm

I thought you might appreciate the imput from an actual high school student who deals with this issue on a daily basis. Kids do care about what other students wear to school. However, as long as an outfit is not distracting or offensive to other students it is considered OK. And besides, there are social limitations to the lewdness of attire. Kids who wear especially revealing clothes are often demeaned by their peers; I am sure if you have attended high school you are aware of the conduct I refer to. Also, going to school in a district where it is expected that you have at least a 4.2 GPA, students get pretty stressed out. There is so much that is expected of us that sometimes we just need to be teenagers.


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2007 at 7:57 pm

The only thing i find offensive in this is that some people try to impose their values, tastes and sensibilities on others. If you find certain attire sexy and your puritan soul can't deal with it, don't look. I believe in total freedom as long as it doesn't hurt others. I'm not condoning kids showing to school topless or nude, but what is considered sexy and racy in fashion keeps changing rapidly and to each his own. if certain ways of dress offend some people, they have a problem they need to solve, not the other way around. It would be fine with me if you walked your dog without any cloths, why should it bother you if my daughter wears a short skirt to Paly?


Posted by enough already, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2007 at 9:16 pm

"Anyone who argues that kids wearing sleazy, expensive, ubiquitous, corporate-brand emblazoned Abercrombie & Fitch cloth(e)s are "expressing themselves" is, in my opinion, way off base."

GAB, Are you saying that they're not expressing themselves, or that you don't like what they're expressing?


Posted by what the heck?, a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2007 at 11:26 pm


In a town where schools are very competitive and kids overall do very well during their school years and beyond, I think that picking on the way they dress should be the lowest of our priorities. They already have to work very hard at conforming to the curriculum, the work load, the schedule, the competition, the pressure, the stress. Please let them be when it comes to clothing.

Personally I sympathize with the young people who go to school wearing flannel pyjama pants. For one thing they have to be at school at 8 AM, which is way to early from teenage bodies (read all the articles on teenage sleep deprivation please). They might as well be allowed some comfort in the way they dress.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Southgate
on May 30, 2007 at 11:34 pm

Teenagers are exceptionally conformist, yet they like to think that they are rebels. That is why Stalin and Goebbels liked them, because they were so easy to persuade to join the rebel cause.

I still like miniskirts and halter tops and cleavage, atlhough it is an abstraction at my age. For teenage straight boys, it can be overwhelming. Many teenage girls focus on attracting these boys, mistaking sexual attraction for love and acceptance. That's why I support conservative dress codes in our taxpayer supported schools. I think we are paying for academic learning, not fake love.

All the talk about indivuality and expression is a joke. More importantly, who cares - we are paying the bills. We have every right to set standards, and to tone it down. The kids are looking for stability, during their chaotic years. Why not provide it?


Posted by what the heck?, a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2007 at 11:39 pm


Jerry,


Our girls should not be held responsible for our boys' behavior. Boys have to learn to control themselves. It is unacceptable to put the burden on girls.

It is equivalent to saying that a rape victim is responsible of what happened to her because of the way she dressed.

Where will it stop ? Muslims think women should be veiled in the name of modesty.

Such an attitude of making the girls responsible for the boys' behavior is very regressive and dangerous. I find it unacceptable.

If your boy cannot handle being around girls, you can opt for a private boy only school.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Southgate
on May 30, 2007 at 11:50 pm

What, your response is so typical of the denial of reality that pervades our current society. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Teenage boys will fight over the pretty girl. They will be distracted by them on a regular basis. It is called biology. Sociology will not fix that basic issue. Time to get over it, and just set up some dress codes.


Posted by what the heck?, a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Well, then again teach your boys not to do that. Period. Or opt for the boy only school.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2007 at 6:49 am

Dress is important. Yes, it isn't right or fair to "blame the victim" if she dresses in a way that causes boys/men to not focus on her "brain", but at the same time we have to teach her that there are consequences for her behavior, including dress, that she must expect.

Like one of you said, it is biology, and we do a disservice to our young women if we don't teach them the reality of male response. I can teach my son his whole life to treat women well, look in her eyes, "no means no" etc, but it is unrealistic and, frankly, unfair tell our young males that they must completely ignore every bit of their biology, even to the point of "not noticing" anything other than brains when it put in front of them.

Shared responsibility.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Barron Park
on May 31, 2007 at 8:53 am

I am amused by most of this discussion. Perhaps, we should require our children to wear the "inappropriate" clothing discussed in this post and they would then rebel by wearing jackets and ties for the boys and long skirts for the girls........Actually, Terman just completed their cotillion and the kids seemed to really enjoy getting dressed up for the weekly ballroom dancing lessons.


Posted by Orange Julius, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 31, 2007 at 9:57 am

"That's the thing I love about them high school girls....I get older and they stay the same age...yes they do...yes they do...heh heh heh"


Posted by Jack, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 31, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Teenage boys who think that the sexy cloths a girl wears to school gives them permission to "touch", should be kicked out of school. Boys who can't or won't control their urge at this age, will not do it as adults, and society might as well start dealing with them now. Touching is fine when the female says it's fine. Staring is a universal right. School dress codes is taking a basic right away and I'd oppose it under any circumstances. We adults think we know what's best, yet we managed to foul up so many things in this world, it's a wonder young people listen to us at all. We should hope that they have the wisdom and decency, which they probably do, to undo some of the terrible mess we have created for them and their children, instead of forcing them to dress in a manner that we feel is appropriate for them.


Posted by enough already, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 31, 2007 at 2:11 pm

"...instead of forcing them to dress in a manner that we feel is appropriate for them."

Unfortunately this goes both ways. On the one hand we should leave teenagers alone to choose their own clothes. (Do we at least enlighten them on the consequences of various choices?)

But what about the other side: adults who push preschoolers and younger school girls to wear highly suggestive clothing. Do "we" as a society feel that's appropriate? Media and commercialism have made it acceptable. Little girls ask to wear what they see on TV, etc. (or the products that are spun off junk TV shows), and their parents endulge. I hope these aren't the same parents who are alarmed when their little girls grow up wanting even more sleazy outfits.

For the parents who find nothing wrong with either - great - at least you're consistent. It's your choice. But like it or not, clothes do reflect the person. And, intended or not, sleazy clothes attract the Orange Juliuses of the world. It's reality, and we each have the right to observe or ignore it as we see fit.


Posted by Gimme a break, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 31, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Cmon people, this is after all a dress code, those of you who are seeing this as expressing how they feel, are very very wrong, we dress because A its comfertable, or B becuase we want to impress the opposite sex, not because were against conforming.


Posted by class of 07, a resident of Gunn High School
on May 31, 2007 at 9:44 pm

oh we definitely have a dress code here at Gunn. Written in plain English in the handbook... It's just that none of the admins or teachers care!

Unless someone is just in their underpants (or wearing nothing at all...) maybe someone will care.

I can't see how someone would be 'distracted' from paying attention in class by another's clothing. Let's not underestimate the attention span of high school students.

Given the fact that people who live in Palo Alto can actually afford the housing here I'm sure we buy decent clothing for our children and not rags. There are much more important issues going on in our school system (ie overcrowding, safety, stress)


Posted by teacher, a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2007 at 12:40 am

Dear Gunn senior -take it from me, thongs and lacy bras and tops that are too tight too loose or too low are distracting to students. Note I didn't say disruptive. Perhaps not distracting to you so congratulations. You've seen what you've seen in four years in a desk and I've seen what I've seen from a better vantage point observing thousands of students over three decades. Enjoy your graduation and dress up nicely.
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Posted by Get a Grip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2007 at 10:01 am

Dress is not a black and white issue -conservative or liberal...
It's about the image that a person projects and the reaction that is received. Kids don't always realize the consequences of their actions as far as projecting an image with their dress. I taught for many years in elementary grades - a young girl excused herself to the bathroom during class and did not return for a period of time I considered a little long. When I sent my aide to fetch her / find out if she was o.k., she was found showing her thong to a girl from another class. I'm sorry, but a thong in the third grade? Is she worried about panty lines? Of course by lunch, the entire class knew she was wearing a thong. We called her mother to bring other undergarments - and upon arrival, we were treated to her mother's thong showing above her skirt. Seriously, dress code or no dress code, it's difficult to enforce a sense of "class" when the role models at home are inappropriate.
I spend my time teaching my children to project what they want in return - with their actions as well as their image. And that doesn't mean wearing a jacket and tie to school...you can be cool and expressive while still being appropriate and classy.


Posted by mad midle schooler, a resident of Terman Middle School
on Oct 24, 2007 at 7:50 pm

first of all dress code SUX
im a middle school and haveing a dresscode is plain stupid
we express ourselves through our clothes
i understand short shorts and skirts
i love wearing spagetti straps but im not allowed to
whatever about the sresscode
by the way
there are thousands of hiugh schoolers and on principal and vice principal evrone can get away with the dresscode
if you dont want your kid wearing this than tell them not to


Posted by Jim, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 24, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Well, despite the fact that thongs worked for Bill Clinton, I think we don't need to accept his level of draw-the-line. He and Monica liked cigars, too. Should school kids be allowed to smoke/use cigars? Or thongs?

How about that we just agree that there IS a line? Then we can determine where it is. Bill may not agree, but, hey, he isn't prez anymore.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 24, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Mad midle schooler,

Your post shows why dress codes are a good thing. You're, what, 13 at most? I guarantee that you don't understand short skirts and spaghetti straps the way a teen-age guy does.

I think, by the way, it's hard for girls, who can pretty much wear anything as kids and not have it mean much, suddenly being in a situation where they're perceived sexually. The head and body don't match up.


Posted by Dani, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 14, 2008 at 5:51 pm

I think thongs are just fine to wear at school. If students want to wear them that's fine. It appearantly makes them feel "self-confident". So, let them wear thongs because even I love to look at them.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 14, 2008 at 7:17 pm

OP, "I think, by the way, it's hard for girls, who can pretty much wear anything as kids and not have it mean much, suddenly being in a situation where they're perceived sexually. The head and body don't match up."

In fact, most any grammar school teacher will tell you that 4th and 5th graders are now presenting with a lot of the same overt behaviors (sexual and otherwise) that 6th and 7th graders did, 10 years ago.

We are letting the media infiltrate the minds of kids in ways that are unprecedented, and there seems no way to put the cork back in the bottle. The media and its modalities are not going away.

What's necessary is firm, loving guidance from the TOP, re: dress codes, speech behavior, etc. etc. Someone has to set an example, because too many parents simply aren't - either because they're too bury, too overwhelmed, or simply don't care.

I think a dress code would be a good idea, because there are VERY few kids who dress for themselves; they dress for others, based on what the culture says is "cool".

That needs to be deconstructed by good policy and good modeling in schools - it would take away some of the media's power, and provide some leverage back to community standards.




Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Mike,

I don't believe it, I agree with every word you just wrote.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Just so you know, I regularly tell students that their outfits are unacceptable. I'll send them to the office and they can call home to get a change of clothes. I often wonder if there's anyone at home that takes a second to look at their child's outfits and say "oh wait, this isn't ok". It is mind-boggling what some parents allow their kids to wear. Sometimes, when the parent comes to drop off a change of clothes and is wearing herself a too-short skirt and a revealing top, it all makes sense.

And in the classroom, as a teacher, it is a big problem with inappropriate clothing. You cannot teach effectively and have to constantly divert your eyes. It's an issue.

And it's a shame the parents of these kids allow it.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2008 at 3:54 pm

As a parent, I am glad that there are teachers who are like the above poster. My daughter insists that "everyone does it" when I criticize her clothes choice for school. I tell her that it will not be allowed, and she comes home and tells me, see nothing happened.

Back in my day, I rolled my skirt shorter and hid what I was really planning to wear from my parents, so now I am on the other side of the issue. But, my school had standards and I would have been sent home. I wish the same happened today.


Posted by Michaela, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2008 at 4:53 am

I go to school in Charleston and yeah, so what if I like wearing thongs and such? I'm 14, come-on. My mom dosn't mind, why should the school? My skirt is short, I'd say it was above middle-thigh and besides all my friends do it. Guys like the girls wearing low shirts and tight skirts, thongs are just part of that. Love ya xx


Posted by was young once....luckily I had really strict parents, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 10:49 am

guys like the girls to have sex with them, too...so are ya also gonna have sex cuz guys like it? maybe ya should instead think about your own goals and future, and do what is good for YOU instead of what guys like..


Posted by lolwat, a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Sounds like this group of parents haven't kept up with fashion since about 1960...


Posted by Teeeeen(:, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Why hello lol, I'm a highschool student myself and I understand how parents could get conserned over this matter. Yet, I don't think its fair to take away the privlage of short shorts it it's not reviling anything. Not all students have half there butt hanging out. And if so im sure they get enough crap about it from students at school. The older we get the responsibility we should gain.
BTW... Y'all don't understand how dang hard it is to find shorts that reach your mid thigh.


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